Semester at Sea

This semester I will be on a ship taking classes and traveling to different countries. I will visit Cadiz, SPAIN ~ Casablanca, MOROCCO ~ Takoradi, GHANA ~ Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA ~ Port Louis, MAURITIUS ~ Chennai, INDIA ~ SINGAPORE ~ Ho Chi Minh City, VIET NAM ~ Hong Kong/Shanghai, CHINA ~ Kobe/Yokohama, JAPAN ~ Honolulu/Hilo, HAWAII ~ San Diego, USA.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh Africa!

I’m really behind on this so I’ll try to catch up while I wait to leave for my township homestay…

The morning after we left Ghana we became Emerald Shellbacks! That means we sailed through 0, 0…where the prime meridian and equator intersect. So basically we went from the northwestern hemisphere to the southeastern hemisphere. The captain sailed along the prime meridian for a few minutes so we stood in the middle of the ship and straddled to eastern and western hemispheres. Haha

Two days later it was Neptune Day. It is a celebration that comes from a naval tradition of hazing people when they cross the equator for the first time. It was a lot of fun – the crew woke us up around 730 by marching down the halls, playing drums and blowing whistles. We ate breakfast and then went out to the pool deck. There ‘King Neptune’ (Dean David) and his crew came in all dressed up. Then we had ‘fish guts’ poured on us (it was really just colored water that smelled like fish) and jumped in the pool. It was so hot in Ghana, but as soon as we crossed the equator it got cold…so we were freezing when we got out of the pool.
We took showers and then watched people getting their heads shaved (a lot of girls did it…I definitely was not one of them. haha). That was pretty much the extent of the morning festivities, so we all went in to study for our Global Studies test that night. Everyone was freaking out a little because we heard the class is difficult, but the test wasn’t bad at all. Then to end the day we had a BBQ…the food on the ship is pretty bad, so it was nice to have such a yummy meal!

Not much else has happened during the week we’ve been on the ship…except for Desmond Tutu’s lecture yesterday during Global Studies. It was interesting, and he is so inspiring. He said the saddest thing about racism is that it makes a child of God doubt that he is a child of God. He also keeps telling us not to be brought down by “oldies” like him and to keep dreaming and believing that we can change the world.

We arrived in South Africa this morning!! We were going to sleep outside last night, but I guess it’s good we didn’t because it was SO cold this morning. We got up around 445am because we were scheduled to pull into port at 5am. We went to the top deck and immediately knew Cape Town would be beautiful. It was pitch black but the whole city was lit up…they even have a ferris wheel! haha We watched as we pulled in (some people said we would basically be ‘crashing’ into town and its true because we are in the middle of the city) and the sky started to lighten. I can’t even put into words how beautiful it was…the city looks very Dutch and Table Mountain slowly came into view as the sun rose. I can’t wait to explore the city!

I didn’t get off the ship this morning because I had an FDP (something we have to do for our classes). It was called Poets and Authors of Cape Town and it was for my World Short Story class. I signed up because we have to do two FDPs and I figured I would just get it out of the way. I thought it would be pretty boring, but it actually turned out to be quite interesting. There were three writers, and they each read some of their work. I wasn’t a big fan of the first guy, but the second lady was really funny. Her poems were full of both humor and sadness. The final author was an older black woman whose writing was mostly about growing up during apartheid. It was really powerful and fascinating to hear some firsthand stories…I really hope I get to meet and talk to more people like her!

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